Category Archives: Family & Work

The Motherhood Wage Penalty by Work Conditions: How Do Occupational Characteristics Hinder or Empower Mothers?

Source: Wei-hsin Yu, Janet Chen-Lan Kuo, American Sociological Review, OnlineFirst, Published July 3, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Mothers are shown to receive lower wages than childless women across industrial countries. Although research on mothers’ wage disadvantage has noted that the extent of this disadvantage is not universal among mothers, it has paid relatively little attention to how the structural characteristics of jobs moderate the price women pay for motherhood. Using data from 16 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that began in 1997, we examine how the pay gap between mothers and non-mothers varies by occupational characteristics. Deriving hypotheses from three prominent explanations for the motherhood wage penalty—stressing work-family conflict and job performance, compensating differentials, and employer discrimination, respectively—we test whether this penalty changes with an occupation’s exposure to hazardous conditions, schedule regularity, required on-the-job training, competitiveness, level of autonomy, and emphasis on teamwork. Results from fixed-effects models show that the wage reduction for each child is less in occupations with greater autonomy and lower teamwork requirements. Moreover, mothers encounter a smaller penalty when their occupations impose less competitive pressure. On the whole, these findings are consistent with the model focusing on job strain and work-family conflict, adding evidence to the importance of improving job conditions to alleviate work-family conflict.

Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children

Source: National Partnership for Women & Families, Issue Brief, June 2017

From the press release:
The nation’s aging population, increases in demand for family members to care for loved ones, and gender gaps in labor force participation are powerful forces aligning to make time for family care and serious personal medical issues essential components of any national paid family and medical leave plan. These are some of the findings of a new report released today, following the inclusion of a very limited paid parental leave proposal in the Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget proposal, and one week after a bipartisan group of scholars came together for the first time ever to announce core paid leave principles.

The report, Our Aging, Caring Nation: Why a U.S. Paid Leave Plan Must Provide More Than Time to Care for New Children, was prepared by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The group analyzed research on the health, financial and economic effects of paid leave policies, along with demographic and labor force data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The analysis highlights the significant deficiencies of public policy proposals for paid leave that exclude certain types of care, and specific states in which providing for family care and serious personal medical needs would be especially important.

Work sick or lose pay? The high cost of being sick when you don’t get paid sick days

Source: Elise Gould and Jessica Schieder, Economic Policy Institute, June 28, 2017

From the summary:
There is no federal law that ensures all workers are able to earn paid sick days in the United States. For workers who fall ill or whose families depend on them to provide care in the event of an illness, this means sick days can be incredibly costly. Taking needed sick time means workers go without pay or must show up at work while sick and delay seeking treatment for themselves or their dependents.

This paper examines recent trends in paid sick time and highlights some of the costs to workers and their families when they are not given the opportunity to earn paid sick time. By quantifying how lack of paid sick days threatens the economic security of low- and moderate-income families, it adds new data to debates over paid sick days measures in states and cities and the need for federal legislation. Over the last several years seven states, the District of Columbia, and 31 other localities have passed paid sick days laws, five of which are set to go into effect this July. Ballot initiatives are on the horizon and some policymakers are calling for a federal guarantee to allow workers to earn paid sick time. ….
Related:
Press release

Elder Care Is a Looming Crisis. Hawaii Is Facing It Head-On

Source: Christina Cauterucci, Slate, Better Life Lab blog, June 5, 2017

…. If Gov. David Ige signs this legislation, people who work at least 30 hours a week outside the home and serve their kupuna as primary caregivers will be eligible for up to $70 a day in help from trained home aides. The Kupuna Caregiver Assistance Program would help a family caregiver continue to work outside the home, get some necessary breaks in caregiving work, and give her the money to pay a fair wage to the care workers she hires. It’s an important step toward meeting the needs of a fast-aging population and the family members who are expected—but too often financially unequipped—to shoulder the burden…..
Related:
Hawaii Long-Term Health-Care Bill Serves as National Model
Source: Rachel M. Cohen, American Prospect, January 12, 2016

Hawaii legislators are tackling the nation’s elder care crisis head-on with a bill that would offer universal long term care to the state’s senior citizens.

Paid Family Leave in the United States

Source: Sarah A. Donovan, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R44835, May 24, 2017

…. This report provides an overview of paid family leave in the United States, summarizes state-level family leave insurance programs, notes paid family leave policies in other advanced-economy countries, and notes recent federal proposals to increase access to paid family leave. ….

Workers Need a Bill of Rights

Source: Andrew Strom, OnLabor blog, May 24, 2017

Except for about a month in the summer of 2009 when the Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate, for the entire twenty-first century any proposal to substantially increase workers’ rights at the national level has had to be prefaced by the comment that, “of course, this is not politically feasible now.” But rather than just spending the next four years fending off misguided Republican legislation, I think it’s time to step back and focus on principles that should guide workplace legislation. Toward that end, here are some thoughts on a potential workplace bill of rights.

There might be some other rights that should be included in this list, and maybe folks have ideas about better ways to phrase the various rights. But, I think it would be helpful for the labor movement, worker advocates, and the Democratic party to start talking about this bill of rights in order to refocus our discussion about jobs. The measure of a good job, whether it is in manufacturing or the service sector, should be whether it provides these rights to workers. In addition, we should be thinking about what changes we need to see in our laws to ensure that all workers enjoy these basic rights on the job. Some of these issues can be addressed at the state level, although of course, that would mean that these rights would exist in only a handful of states. Here’s my proposed worker bill of rights – let the debate begin…..

Equal Pay for Mothers Is Critical for Families

Source: Jasmine Tucker, National Women’s Law Center, Fact Sheet, May 2017

From the summary:
More than 22.8 million mothers with children under 18 are in the workforce, making up nearly 1 in 6 – or 15.5 percent – of all workers. The great majority of these mothers work full time. In 2015, 42 percent of mothers were sole or primary family breadwinners, while 22.4 percent of mothers were co-breadwinners, meaning families are increasingly relying on mothers’ earnings.

While women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, the wage gap between mothers and fathers is even larger. Mothers working full time, year round outside the home are paid just 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, a gap that translates to a loss of $16,000 annually. The wage gap between mothers and fathers exists across education level, age, location, race, and occupation, and compromises families’ economic security….

The Better Work Toolkit: A Science-Based Approach to Designing Work-Life Solutions That Work

Source: Brigid Schulte, Dan Connolly and Uyhun Ung, New America, Better Life Lab, March 30, 2017

…..The answer is not to jettison flexibility, collaboration, and autonomy, but rather, to use an understanding of human psychology to redesign work systems in order for individuals, teams and organizations to use them more skillfully. In this toolkit, we outline the challenges, best practices and promising new ideas to ease four particularly thorny choke points—reducing e-mail overload, inefficient meetings, and long work hours, and increasing restful time off—based on universal behavioral science principles…..

What Do Moms Really Need This Mother’s Day? Paid Family Leave

Source: Tillie McInnis, Refinery29, May 12, 2017

….Paid leave allows a worker to take time off in order to prioritize wellness, family, and life outside of work without losing pay (or risking their job security). Paid leave includes, but is not limited to family leave, personal leave, and sick leave. It seems like a simple concept that everyone should have access to, yet 61% of those on the lowest rungs of the income ladder don’t have a single paid sick day, and only 13% of U.S. workers have some paid family leave through their employers. It feels almost too obvious to be highlighting, but it’s an important point: Paid sick days are good for workers, and they don’t cost businesses much. Compared to other developed countries, the U.S. is seriously lagging in paid leave. We are one of the few developed countries still having contentious debates about abortion, and yet when a child is born, there are few to no laws in place that help children and families thrive. We put businesses first, claiming that it is too costly for employers to provide paid sick days, but as research shows, that is simply not the case. In New York City specifically, businesses surveyed found little to no increase in costs when they started to provide employees with paid sick days…..
Related:
How America Treats Working Moms Like Shit
Source: Laura Smith, Mother Jones, May/June 2017

….As many have pointed out, all moms are working moms, regardless of whether they are paid for their work. But as sociologist Arlie Hochschild put it in her book The Second Shift, mothers juggling housework with a day job enjoy a “double burden.” In time for Mother’s Day, here’s a short history of some of America’s most underappreciated employees…..